Monday, January 4, 2021

December 2020 Update

Yesterday a friend said that she didn't understand why people got so excited about the end/beginning of a year. January 1st was just another day in her mind. Nothing had changed. While I understand where she's coming from, I quite like the changeover. Since so many museums are closed or fairly quiet in December, it means we have fewer phone calls and emails, giving us the opportunity to tie up loose ends, finish off projects, and close up the office for a couple weeks of much-needed rest. December also means taking stock of the year's activities and carrying out performance reviews. 

2020 was weird to say the least. Taking stock of the year meant analyzing our response to the pandemic, our creativity in troubleshooting and developing alternative plans for various programs and services. In some ways, it made it easier for us to carry out our plans. We had declared the year our 'consolidation year', ie we wanted to organize things a bit better, streamline some operations, and move forward on a few initiatives. Even if things didn't go exactly according to plan, we feel good about what we did. We came up with a plan B for the year's evaluation activities and launched Accreditation, celebrating the first four museums to receive this designation. The CollectiveAccess in Canada discussion group continued to meet and even expanded to include a couple American consortia. We formalized our internship program and hosted 4 remote interns, partnering with two new schools in the process. We established a Teacher Advisory Group (TAG), surveyed NS teachers and launched NovaMuseEd with 87 educational resources, largely thanks to our wonderful interns working closely with museum staff and volunteers. We delivered multiple webinar series and held virtual community chats, giving people opportunities to connect and learn while staying safe at home. And we took advantage of many online learning opportunities ourselves, gaining new perspectives and inspiration for future ANSM efforts. We worked on policies and procedures, refreshed Nova Scotia's content on Artefacts Canada, partnered with Fleming College to review collection records and a spinning wheel expert to enrich those records' content. We also experienced a lot of change within ANSM, saying goodbye to both Jennifer and Sandi, so wrapped up 2020 by reviewing job applications and pondering how our organization is going to change in the coming year. This gave us the opportunity to think about our strengths, our weaknesses, and where we see ANSM going in the coming years. Pondering these questions at the end of such a weird year was actually great timing because we could factor in extraordinary circumstances and experiences rather than our normal work life. 

As I've mentioned in previous posts, we want to say thank you to all the museums who came along with us for the ride that was 2020 - for joining in on virtual learning, breaking new ground on resources for educators, and sharing ideas on the future of the Advisory Service and ANSM general services. And kudos to those of you who made great strides within your own organizations - from tackling collections backlogs to program development to online fundraising. and much more!
So many of you rose to the year's challenges and we want you to know that your efforts were seen and admired. 

Thinking back to my friend's comments, I see this annual changeover as healthy. As you all return to your museums and work, I encourage you to take stock, think about what you did in 2020 that makes you feel proud, and also what lessens you can carry forward in your work. 

So here's to the new year of 2021! 

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